From virgin boards to specialist materials and integrated carton production, the Finns have plenty on offer, reports Pauline Covell
The forest industries of Finland are at the heart of its industry. They accounted for 24.8 per cent of all exports last year. But Finnish paper and board companies have a much wider reach. They own 32 per cent of the 103Mt of paper and paperboard capacity in Western Europe, according to the 2003 statistics contained in the 2004 report of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
M-real Tako Board is in the middle of a major product development programme which will be implemented this month. The company’s cartons operation comprises both high performance board production and its Packaging Solutions business – the carton converting plants that offer world wide solutions for brand owners, explains Hannu Kottonen, senior vice president and general manager. The Tako development is part of that philosophy. As a result it is changing from being a ground wood folding boxboard producer to using chemi thermo mechanical pulp. New CTMP based board products are claimed to offer excellent brightness as well as stiffness, bulk and yield.
Two new board grades make use of this material. Gala X and Nova X are particularly designed for confectionery cartons. Their multilayer structure is said to guarantee consistent quality and high yield. Both grades are fully coated folding boxboards with the CTMP middle layer. For brand owners the superior printability, varnishing and convertibility of the grades is said to enable the delivery of uniform packaging and a consistent brand image across the globe. They offer the combination of high stiffness and lightness, which improves runnability on high speed packaging lines.
An innovative monomaterial alternative to PE/PP laminated boards for food packaging converting is offered by Finland’s only independent cartonboard producer, Stromsdal. Export manager Juha Ylitalo says: “Our focus is on flexibility and innovation. That’s possible because our production is based on the baseboard machine which uses virgin pulp with all the coating being done off machine. That allows us to develop new concepts.” It also enables special coatings to be cost effective compared with large on-machine applications.
The innovative nature of Tecta boards, as the family is designated, is that the aqueous polymer dispersion coated material can be recycled (repulped), composted or incinerated (repulping). Defined as a monomaterial, no separation of the plastics is needed. In practice this means that for instance in Germany, DSD-taxes are notably lower than taxes of other barrier materials. The coating amount is only 15g/m2.
This is the first time, says Stromsdal, that these coatings have been applied on an industrial scale. And previously the barrier properties of dispersion coatings have not approached the level achieved with conventional PE, PP or PET coatings. The company makes the coating mixtures, so costs are reasonable. Coating is applied to the reverse side of the paperboard with a roll and the weight metered by a rod. This is followed by controlled drying – extremely important for a water repellent coating. The top side of the board is clay coated.
The Tecta family of barrier boards comprises three grades, TectaBase, TectaOven and TectaVapor. All grades are grease and water resistant. TectaBase and TectaVapor are also microwaveable, with TectaOven dual-ovenable. All are approved for direct food contact. TectaVapor is said to provide an excellent water vapour barrier, which is needed for packaging long shelf life products.
Current capacity of the board machine is 70,000t, says Juha Ylitalo. “But there are plans to increase capacity or to find alternative ways of acquiring more base board.”
When Finland’s leading food company, Saarioinen, started looking for a new type of pizza tray, UPM-Kymmene company Walki Wisa stepped forward.
In early 2003, Liha-Saarioinen introduced its big, 300g microwave oven-ready pizzas. The tray comprised a white cartonboard dish, which was fitted with a separate reflective tray (susceptor) on the production line. This lowered production efficiency and raised costs.
“We asked Walki Wisa if they could manufacture the reflective tray material in reels. We already had a mould for the finished product. To our happy surprise, the perfect product was found immediately,” says Michael Oksanen, product manager for Artekno, a member of the Saarioinen Group.
“A reflective tray for oven-ready pizzas is not a novelty, but it is a new material in Walki Wisa’s range. The WalkiTray U-SB17, a combination of stiff board and a baking surface glued to it with heat resistant glue, functions as a pizza baking tray,”explains Walki Wisa GmbH marketing manager Kaj Blomqvist. Thanks to the reflective tray, the pizza really bakes in a microwave oven, it doesn’t merely warm up.
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